27 August 2013

Okay, One More Box, and Then I'll Start Sewing, I Promise.

Sadly, I didn't have the presence of mind to take a "before" picture of this, but it was basically just a brown wooden box.  Light brown.  I "stained" it with watered-down red craft paint, sprayed it with a super-shiny gloss clearcoat, and lined the inside with some scraps of a vivid blue uncut corduroy (feels/looks like velvet, but sturdier).

It's hard to tell except in the last picture, which is horribly over-exposed with flash, because it's the only way I could get the red edging to show - the box edges are highlighted in a shiny red lacquer paint, to hide some flaws in the stain, and to better blend the edges of the wood and the blue "velvet" visually.  

Okay, NOW I'm going to go sew.  Two weeks to go from first-draft-pattern to completed 12th century side-laced pendant-sleeve gown.  No pressure. 



26 August 2013

The Big Black Box

I needed a six-panel chest.  You know the one, it's ubiquitous in the SCA.  It comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, finishes, and types of detail.  It's SO handy.

Enter this guy:  

This is a wooden toybox that my grandfather built for me when I was only a year old.  It's as old as me, and like me, it was showing a bit of wear.  It's been useful and beloved throughout it's thirty*COUGH* years, but lacking a hinged top made its use a bit limited.  Eventually it was relegated to storage, tucked on top of a shelf in my garage.

I was hesitant, at first, to refinish it at all (even though I hated the paint job - it's green/yellow on the other two sides), because it was my grandfather's work, I finally decided that I'd rather change it and use it and love it anew, than let it rot on top of a high shelf - and why not look at it like this: he put loving work into this thing, so why shouldn't I? This is as close as we would get to having worked on it together.

The paint was old enough to have been lead, possibly, so I did no sanding.  I spent weeks scraping and peeling and covering it with liquid and foam paint remover, before finally giving up once I realized that even where I'd gotten through the paint, it had long since soaked into the wood, and it would never be stain-able.  So I scraped it smooth, applied a wood conditioner to re-hydrate it, sealed some slightly separated joinery, and painted it inside and out.

From there, the rest was all fun.  I've been working on this guy all summer (you saw the background on the lid, and the smaller box which was kind of a dry run for this one).  Here's the finished product:

Black outside, and mint-green-blue inside (because that's
the color I had, hehe.  The top is stained because it was
cut from an old desktop, and was already finished.  

A close-up of the decorative mountings, which are
just jewelry plaques bent and nailed on with small tacks. 

The handles on the sides, which are simple drawer pulls,
backed with more jewelry plaques.   Not remotely period,
but, as with all facets of this project, I used materials
I already had on hand. 

On the outside of the lid is a mural that took me like three weeks to paint.
I absolutely love it, warts and all, from the derpy little deer to the appalling
mélange of artistic styles used  (this is a learning project, you guys).

See?   I do love how all the colors came out, though, and overall I'm quite
pleased with the finished chest. 

I do have to say that the sky is my favorite thing, though.  It doesn't show
well in these pics, but all of the gold is metallic.  Not leafing paint (my jar
of leafing paint is stuck shut!), but my trusty gold liquid paint pen. 

So, this is going to be my nightstand in my tent, and very likely full of underwear and socks, hehe.  Very few people will ever even see it, but that's okay with me.  I'm really pleased with it, and I want to keep it where I can see it all the time, and where it won't be damaged by the elements.

Next up, woodworking-wise, is another, smaller chest, that I'll be building from scratch; but with the first event of the season only weeks away, I need to lock myself in my sewing room for a while.
See you guys on the flipside.


14 August 2013

Hippies With Tattoos Like Historical Recreation, Too

Once upon a time, many pious folks carried with them a rosary, or paternoster (lit. "our father") to assist them in their daily prayers.  Much like the Buddhist japa mala, the idea was that passing the beads through your fingers helps you keep track of how many prayers have been said/have yet to be said.  The mala is made with beads in multiples of 108; a paternoster usually in 10s or 50s.

(the priest standing behind the seated Madgalene)

While I'm not so into role-playing in the SCA that I need to assign my persona a religious affiliation, I DO like:

  • making jewelry, and
  • shiny things, and 
  • keys
I also happened to have a quantity of large, pink, freshwater pearls, as well as some metal pieces I've been meaning to use for something pretty (I cleaned up my jewelry-making supplies and organized them all more efficiently recently, and I came across lots of things that gave me ideas).

I also really love the look of pretty things hanging from my belt.  I have a number of purses now, a cigarette case (and I no longer smoke, but I can keep other small items in it), and my search for the perfect belt hanger is ongoing.  I wanted something shiny.

Ta-da.   I like it.

The chain at the top will loop around my belt.  Period paternosters would simply end in a bead or finial of some kind and be carried in a pocket or simply tucked into a belt; but I'm not willing to risk this thing falling out of my belt and getting lost at an event.

(And if I decide I don't want the chain, it's easily removed.  Tbh, I'm still not sure I won't go back and close the loop, making this a circle with a key hanging from it).

The key at the end is just a little pewter thing from the craft store - I picked up a pack of them once for another project.  I love old keys.  I have a lovely iron one which I would have used instead, but I lost it several months ago.  :(

Thank goodness for bead reamers. I used up the best of this strand of pearls on a necklace a while ago; what was left had holes too small for the wires to go through, so I can to enlarge every single one.  Bo-ring.

For those who would ask, my "paternoster" IS actually a mala in disguise (12 beads, counting the key at the end).  Not that I get much meditating done while at SCA events, hehe, but it's meaningful to me, and while it's not 100% period, it enhances the overall costume.

Peace, y'all.


09 August 2013



Remember the little painted black box?  I'm doing a much larger version - a 24" six-panel wooden chest.  The box itself is nearly finished, and painted; now I'm working on the box top:

(part of the upper right corner)  


I've also decided I need a Tudor corset.  I don't have a pattern, and I don't feel like drafting one from scratch, so I'm drafting one from an old renfest corset that still [mostly] fits me.  The first part was getting it on and laced up, and then marked with a chalk pencil where I'll be making shape and sizing adjustments:


And just for fun (because I'm still in the process of re-organizing my sewing and craft/art rooms, and because I had to re-organize my jewelry supplies into better containers and had the beads out anyway), I made a little necklace to wear with...whatever!  To me it says "rubies and pomegranate arils", even though it's just glass and tiny tumbled garnets.

More soon.


08 August 2013

And Now For Something Completely Different

I've reached that point where I'm in the middle of several things, but with nothing yet to show off here, so today you get to see my garb closet.

This is the closet in my master bedroom, which was my ex-boyfriend's closet.  (My closet is actually inside the master bathroom).  I've always wanted two things:  a dedicated garb closet, and not to have towels in my clothing closet.  

So now I have that!  Gowns on the left, chemises and braies folded on hangers underneath behind the gowns, a little dresser and some baskets/boxes for bits and pieces, and all of my towels on the lower shelf.  (Top shelf is boring storage for random stuff) .

On the right side is this double café curtain rod set which I purchased at the dollar store for a whole whopping *dollar* (guess that's why they call it that).  Here are my veils, belts, and pairs of sleeves, clipped to the rods where I can see them at a glance, and grab them easily and quickly while I'm picking out my outfits for an event and packing them up. Ta-da!


Meanwhile, I will continue work on:

  1. another small, painted box
  2. a large painted box
  3. a 12th century pendant-sleeve gown
  4. a Tudor corset

Back soon!  


06 August 2013

So, About That Chair...

You know, this morning on my way to work I wrote this entire post in limerick form.  Thankfully, before I got to a keyboard I thought, "Hm, maybe I'd better have some coffee and think this through."
You're welcome.



  • spray paint (paint + prime in one, and also a spray polycrylic clear-coat)
  • new fabric  (scraps from an old tablecloth and runner set, which is why the design isn't centered)

Ta-da!  Easy. 

This chair was given to me by a friend, and I very much prefer it over the "regular" folding camp chairs that everyone tries to disguise with slipcovers made of thrift store bedsheets (to which: ew; ymmv).  Far more comfortable to sit in, doesn't hurt my back, easier to get out of, has never broken beneath me and dropped me on my ass (which always seems to happen in front of cute guys, have you noticed that?)  

One day I will have pretty wooden chairs with pretty throw cushions.  But for now, I'm loving this thing SO very much.  :) 

02 August 2013

July In Review

I'm skipping May and June, because I did absolutely nothing SCA-related in those two months.  I took a much-needed break from SCAdian life, and focused on working on my house - gardening, painting ceilings, rearranging furniture, cleaning out the garage.

I didn't get much SCA stuff done in July, either, but I did manage to:

  • finish a hat I started long ago, and I love it
  • fix up an old wooden box, and paint pretty pictures on it 

The first event of the Fall 2013 season (for me) is War of Ages, on September 7th...and I have a loooooot of things to get done in August to get ready. Let the projects - and the blogging - commence! 



01 August 2013

The Little Black Box

Well, my phone ate the before picture.  :-/  

So, this is an 8x10" wooden box from the craft store, with a sliding top, about 6" deep.

This is kind of a "before" - it started out life with a sheer black stain on the wood, and the inside painted a deep wine color.

In re-doing it this time around, I painted a black border around each side, outlined with a thin gold line (extra-fine point gold paint pen), and accented it with plain ol' brass thumbtacks.  

 This is the sliding box top. Originally, it was just stained black, like the sides.  Recently I had painted the whole top blue, and stenciled a vine-y, botanical design all over it in gold paint...that I ended up hating.

So I sanded it smooth to get rid of the stencil lines, painted the whole thing black, and then painted this little scene, with the same gold paint pen outline, to match the sides.

It's not a copy of any extant scene, just inspired-by.  I absolutely adore forest scenes in medieval paintings.

This one, for example, which, unfortunately, I found via a google search and a "print vintage art for free" website which listed NO source. There were a series of these, with different animals in them. I loved the greens and blues - and the acanthus leaves in the sky!

Obviously my box top isn't nearly so detailed, but it's my first.  Give me time. :)

My pronouncement on the finished product:  doesn't suck.  

And as a rough draft/trial project for a much larger version of this, it went pretty well.

Yes, there's something much larger, and cooler, on the way.